Day 3: Monday, 28 February
Current Draft: Garland of Praise
Today’s starting word count: 46,366 words (added 62 words last session)
Time worked last session: 55 minutes (total time so far: 2 hours 6 minutes)
Today’s goal: Edit for 2 hours
Goal level achieved last session: Bronze (edited for nearly an hour)
I’m back at it this afternoon, with thankfully not as long of a break in between these last two sessions.
I worked for nearly an hour last time (over an hour, counting writing the journal entry), and that mostly involved reading through the text. I did pick up on a few textual changes to make—words to add or swap around, sentences or phrases that didn’t flow well that I could update, etc. As I read, I also tried to take notes. I wrote down a summary of what is in each scene, and I’ve also been trying to take notes on the bigger issues at play—some of the bigger plot points that I will need to pay attention to in order to deliver a better story.
Once again, as I’ve discovered when reading for other authors, I’m much more of a line editor than a plot editor! It’s easy to pick up on a few little tweaks, but looking at the big picture? That’s a different ballgame altogether! While I’m concerned that that limitation might make my task harder, I’m also cautiously optimistic. This is a good chance for me to try to hone my skills at looking for the bigger pieces first, and the fiddly bits later. Something along the lines of the big rocks and little rocks illustration. I think it may have come from Stephen Covey—get your big rocks in first, and then fit the little rocks in around it.
Anyway, building blocks. That’s what I’m trying to focus on in this round.
I’m just over one chapter into the book so far, and one of the biggest things I’ve realized already is that I need to rework one of the main antagonist’s ways of fighting against the characters in my story. Since this is a fantasy/allegory, I’ve made up all the rules for this universe, and although it made sense in my brain at the time, I’m realizing there will likely be questions in readers’ minds about how some aspects of this world work. Already I’ve got one glaring question in mind, and unfortunately, I don’t think I did a good job covering that.
It’s fine to leave the reader to fill in some of the answers themselves…but questions need to be answered.
Each scene I read through brings up more what-if or must-clarify notes. There are so many options for how this story could come together in the end!
Today, I’m planning on continuing through the read-through. It’s already fairly late in the day, so I doubt I’ll hit my stated time goal, but I’m planning to do what I can. I’ll continue taking notes and trying to focus on those big-picture things:
- How does this push the story as a whole forward?
- Does this tell me something more about the characters, plot, or setting, or is it extraneous fluff?
- Is there a way I can combine the essence and purpose of this scene with another scene to create a tighter, stronger read?
- Is this chapter/scene plausible in the story and setting?
- Are the characters staying true to themselves and their individual (internal as well as external) goals?
That last one, especially, is a big one for me right now—I realized just a few days ago that I have NO idea what some of my characters really want out of life, and I also don’t know what they’re good or terrible at. The idea is frightening, honestly, because that means that I’ve got characters in here that are little more than puppets with a bit of emotion thrown in here and there. One thing I need to spend a lot more time on over the next while is getting to know my characters, so they shine the way they need to on the page.
Well, enough blathering on for now. I’ve got lots to think about and consider, and a story to read over.
Have you heard of the big rocks and little rocks illustration before? Where could you apply that on your own tasks?